Prior to the start of the pandemic, the worldwide demand for masks like the N95 mask had skyrocketed due to natural phenomena like the wildfire in Australia and the Volcanic eruption in the Philippines. With 95% filtration ability, the N95 mask became an international necessity. The N95 mask is famous for being the most recommended mask. Now that the pandemic continuously shakes the healthcare systems internationally, the demand for N95 masks has never sought to be this overwhelming.
Aside from the N95 mask, masks like the surgical mask rose to stardom as well. You can see people wearing them with their face shields on top. The surgical mask is a device that is blue on the outside and white on the inside. Mostly worn by both medical personnel and patients in the hospital, a surgical mask also provides protection, maybe not as much as the N95 mask. The surgical mask is a good filtration device without disrupting your oxygen intake. The surgical mask can prevent people from getting in contact with large droplets of aqueous substances like saliva and even phlegm. Also, the surgical mask prevents the carrier from spreading those droplets to others.
Masks like the N95 mask and the surgical mask are used if social distancing goes out of hand. It is the wearer’s first line of defense against the deadly covid-19 virus. Both the N95 mask and the surgical mask have gained popularity in the medical industry. These masks are utilized by medical doctors and nurses.
However, both the N95 mask and the surgical mask are now getting scarce due to worldwide demand and looting. Companies making the N95 mask and the surgical mask are doing their very best to supplement and meet the demands for the said masks. It is also understandable if you will not attempt to purchase the N95 mask and the surgical mask online. There have been incidents of counterfeiting and price gouging of the N95 mask and the surgical mask going on and you do not want your money to be put to waste. Moreover, if there were ample stocks of the N95 mask and the surgical mask, it is best to leave those masks to the hospitals for the doctors and nurses to use.
There are over a million pieces of medical-grade N95 mask and surgical mask used every day in hospitals. With scarcity going on, doctors and nurses need more surgical masks and most importantly, the N95 mask.
What is the best alternative then? DIY or Do-It-Yourself
That’s right! DIY or Do-It-Yourself mask is the best alternative in the absence of the N95 mask and the surgical mask. Making a DIY mask will also save you a couple of bucks rather than spending too much on an N95 mask and surgical mask that take weeks before arrival; not to mention the expensive shipping fee. All you need to worry about is how to make it and which material to use.
Choosing the right material for your DIY mask
The N95 mask and the surgical mask both use a special material specific for their uses. This special material allows the N95 mask and the surgical mask to provide the filtration capability the both of them are capable of delivering. But since you are making a DIY face mask, the material is the first one to choose. Assuming you already have the material, but you are torn between two; silk or cotton.
If you have chosen cotton, it is okay. It is hypoallergenic. So, it rarely induces irritation or any allergy. Cotton is also comfortable and breathable. But it can be a little expensive as well. Also, cotton is weak and highly absorbent.
If you have chosen silk, it is okay too. If you are one of those fashionistas who want to be protected and at the same time want to look chic, silk is the best way to go. Silk is known for being a sheeny fabric and a hypoallergenic one too. But it is not durable unlike cotton and can be easily damaged in direct sunlight.
So what’s the best option?
Researchers and the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that in making a DIY face mask, you can use layers of both silk and cotton fabric. They are proven to provide high protection and filtration ability. The layer comes in three: the inner layer that is absorbent, the middle layer that can filter, and the outer layer that is nonabsorbent. You can either have the cotton inside and the silk outside or three layers of silk or three layers of cotton fabric. Silk is known to have an electrostatic properly that can trap tiny particles.
What are the other options?
A tightly woven cotton with chiffon extracted from polyester and spandex would make a great combination. Researchers have found out that the combination of the said materials can guarantee a filtration ability of over 90%.
A combination of tightly woven cotton, silk, or flannel can also perform well. Silk can provide the enhanced barrier and the breathability of the tightly woven cotton can go along with it. In the absence of Silk, flannel can be used. It also can provide breathable protection.
The next thing to do is to create the mask. You can look for videos on YouTube on how to create your DIY mask. There are DIY masks that do not require any sewing. But it is better if you sew the DIY mask that you will be making.
Given such circumstances, people need to be more creative and a little thrifty in these trying times. No one, not even the doctors and medical experts, can pinpoint exactly as to when this pandemic will be over. Better leave the N95 mask and the surgical mask to the medical experts they need it the most. Utilize any piece of fabric that can be found in your closet.